Captain James Cook 8
Continued on from Captain Cook Part 7
He landed at the village of Yukuot and it seems there were misunderstandings from the start. Cook is tired but seems to renew himself at Yukuot where he is received well by the indians. He sees the totem poles and long houses and likes it here. He regains his former temper and starts to trade for salmon and otter pelts. Cooks visit starts a booming trade in fur for the regions of Canada. But the bad things of western civilization were introduced like alcohol and venereal diseases. At least one third of indigenous peoples died from Smallpox. Cook may have been aware of the bad influence of his coming to the areas that were inhabited by indigenous races.
Captain Cook had to refit his ships which were falling apart because the naval contractors had done a cheap job before the voyage. After a month Cook sails off in search of the North WEst Passage. Every bay and inlet has to be checked and there is no sign of a North-WEst Passage. But Cook was getting frustrated and he was getting doubts that the whole voyage was a waste of time. He entered the Acctic Ocean and an area shrouded in fog. James Cook and his behaviour starts to alarm the crew and somehow manages to find a safe anchorage. He kills a walrus and the men refuse to eat the disgusting meat.
The crew write him a letter of complaint and he is outraged. His world is spiralling out of control. He has hit a wall of ice and it is not even winter there. The conditions were atrocious and to take his ships to the Arctic was a major gamble. He was losing the respect of his crew and officers. James Cook was beaten. He needs somewhere to refit and resupply and heads to the Sandwich Islands or Hawaii. They enter the wide bay and many people came out to board and greet the ship. Canoes and spectators crammed the waters and surroundings. He recognizes the culture and language from the islands of Tahiti.
He sends William Bligh ashore to look for water and supplies. Bligh finds a sacred temple near the watering hole. Cook is shown the temple, and Cook heads back to Canada, but a mast is broken. They have to return to Hawaii but the indigenous are not impressed to see him again. He had outstayed his welcome and relations had changed. During the night, a boat is stolen and James Cook picks a fight with the Hawaiians. He blockades the bay and demands the return of the ship's boat. This will be the last day of James Cook's life. He marches into a village and takes a chief hostage until he gets his boat back. The natives are outraged and Bligh kills a high ranking warrior and James Cook is attacked with rocks and sticks. He is killed at nine in the morning.
Grief was expressed by the crew and their loss is palpable. The British Empire makes him a hero. James Cook was buried at sea - a fitting end for a man whose life was shaped by the sea. He was genius but he was flawed towards the end of his life. He was the greatest explorer this world has ever known.